Insights from Prep Professionals
We kicked off our inaugural webinar series with Dave Lucey ’87, Recruiting Manager at Epsilon, who offered tips and suggestions on writing an effective resume. Participants from a wide range of classes participated in this valuable, interactive forum, which was applicable to those either getting ready to write their first resume or in need of tweaking their current resume. Dave's presentation is available here in PDF form. And here is the sample résumé he referenced in his presentation.
on Tuesday April 24, 2012 at 02:11PM
The second in our career development series comes from Matt Donato '94, director of alumni career and affinity programs at the University of Chicago. These are some of the steps he recomends for Chicago grads as they begin a job search.
- Fully understand your financial conditions: How much do you need to make to pay current expenses and meet long term financial commitments? How much do you need to make to have a reasonably fulfilling lifestyle?
- Make an inventory of your skills so you know what you're good at (or need to improve on). Also, make an inventory of the qualities you want in a job (big vs. small organization, customer facing vs. desk job, amount of travel, etc.).
- Write a resume and outline how you will write cover letters for job opportunities. Your resume should be a well-organized, cleanly formatted summary or snapshot of your professional skills, qualities, achievements, and expertise. When you write a cover letter, it should be customized to a specific job opportunity. It should connect the requirements of the position laid out in a job posting with the skills, qualities, achievements, and expertise on your resume. Have more than one person (a friend, relative, networking contact, career counseling professional) review your resume (and occasionally your cover letters) to spot errors or make suggestions for improvement.
- Network, network, network. I can't emphasize enough how important networking is in today's economy. Networking is relationship building, not transactional. Prepare for networking conversation or informational interviews much as you would for real job interviews. Always be open to networking opportunities. Utilize all networking avenues available to you (your network of family, friends, neighbors, fellow high school or college alumni, former professional or volunteer colleagues). Try to network your way into organizations that interest you or that will be hiring.
- Set daily, weekly, monthly goals for job search actions you can control: networking calls made, informational interviews requested, resumes submitted, etc. Treat your job search as a full-time job (which also means, taking a break occasionally to avoid being overwhelmed by the search).
- Consider part-time or temporary employment to help alleviate financial concerns. Also, consider volunteering for a day or two each week. Getting out and doing something, whether paid or not, can provide structure, enhance your feeling of self-worth, and potentially expand your professional network.
- Be self-aware. Make sure you feel like you are making progress in your job search. Try to know where you need to improve throughout the process (practice interviews, resume writing, etc.). Keep track of what is working and what is not working. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
on Monday December 5, 2011 at 04:28PM
The first in the networking tips series comes from Peter Dolan '74, chairman of a national task force on childhood obesity (ChildObesity 180), past chairman and CEO of Gemin X Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb. This is the blueprint he developed to reach his own professional and personal goals.
Finding a job is hard work. It requires positioning yourself in a positive but realistic way and targeting your search toward appropriate prospects. It also calls for a positive attitude (and a willingness to accept rejection), and above all else, persistence. If that sounds like the kind of approach you would want to see in someone you might hire someday, there's your first insight. The way you approach your job hunt demonstrates the way you would approach your job. Good employers will pay attention.
"Sending out my resume" is neither networking nor typically effective. Move beyond that phase of your search as soon as possible, or better still, don't even start there. Here are tips you can use to make your search more effective.
- Start with an honest and critical assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Then try to match that to appropriate job opportunities. You need to be able to tell that story when you are ready. And it needs to make sense. If you say you want to play for the Red Sox or be first violin in an orchestra, you need to be convincing as to why that isn't just wishful thinking.
- Generate a list of 10-15 people you think would be willing to help you. This is NOT 10-15 people you barely know but think are in your targeted area. You will be asking these people to actively help you, so it's more important that they want to help than whether they know of a specific opportunity in your targeted area.
- Ask to meet with the people on your list. Reassure them you aren't asking them for a job and don't assume they have one appropriate for you at the moment. You want to get their ideas and ask them to consider sharing their relevant network with you.
- Do not burn up your best network prospects until you have done #1. Don't meet with people until you have a story to tell. Don't waste their time with "I just need a job". If you aren't willing to do the work to tell your story in a compelling way, why should they go out of their way to use their network and potentially waste personal capital helping you sort out what you might want to do? I don't want to suggest it is easy to find your passion or determine what you want to do, but don't waste your best potential advocates on that task. Find two or three others to help you weigh the pros and cons of different choices and develop your story before you take it on the road.
- The purpose of meeting with your 10-15 best network people is to get at least one or two ideas from every meeting, people they know to call or meet, job areas they might know about, or people who just started on the path you want to pursue so you can learn more.
- Follow up, follow up, follow up. Demonstrate you are the kind of person they want to help and would hire if they could. Let them know what happened when you called or met with their contacts. Keep them appraised of your search process overall. Keep them in the game until you land a job.
- Be open to serendipity and don't miss an opportunity to tell your story. You never know where the conversation may go or where it might lead.
on Tuesday November 29, 2011 at 04:09PM
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